Jake Freise did a lot of growing up in Owatonna over the last four winters while setting the record for games played as a member of the Steele County Blades junior hockey squad. The strapping young man from Evanston, IL went from being self-proclaimed "hot-head" as a rookie to team captain during the 2019-2020 season. The team recently announced that Freise has committed to play college hockey at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

In a news release from the United State Premier Hockey League, Blades coach Nick Adamek said, "I feel like I am losing a part of my own family." He added, "I have seen Jake Freise grow up from a young, immature boy into the strong-willed, independent man he is today."

Roosevelt coach Billy Karr commented, "We had been very interested in Jake since last fall. What I saw him do at the showcase in December was proof enough that we wanted him to be a central figure on our team for years to come. His mix of natural ability and his leadership is exactly what we are trying to build our team around."

In an interview this past season with KRFO radio, Freise spoke of how he has matured during his time in Owatonna. He was proud of the fact he earned the captain's role for his final season in town.

Freise showed his willingness to work for the betterment of the team by transitioning from forward to defense when the team needed help on the blue line. He ended his career with 164 games played with 31 goals and 41 assists. He also accrued 465 penalty minutes. Freise was named the team's Most Valuable Player in a vote by his teammates for the 2019-2020 season.

In the USPHL release, Freise said, "I couldn't be more thankful and appreciative of the years I've spent in Owatonna playing for the Blades. Coach Nick and the organization, as a whole, has helped me become the player I am today." He added, "Huge thank you to all my billets over the years, all the volunteer staff, and all the people that are a part of the process every day of being a Blade."

"Thank you to my family for supporting me and Coach Nick for believing in me over the years. I'm very excited for this opportunity and I'll make the Blades organization proud," he completed.

Roosevelt University was known as Robert Morris University until a recent merger. The Lakers play in the Central State Collegiate Hockey League and are at the ACHA Division I level.

Other players from the Blades 2019-2020 season to make a college commitment include Owatonna High School graduate Carter Broton (Marian University) and Will Christensen (Utah State University).

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